Torah Portion

Beshalach

בשלח

Exodus 13:17-17:16
Judges 4:4-5:31

Moses Strikes the Rock in Exodus and Numbers: One Story or Two?

Moses Strikes the Rock in Exodus and Numbers: One Story or Two?

In Numbers 20, when the Israelites are without water, God tells Moses to get water from a stone, which he does by striking it, and is punished. Yet in Exodus, Moses does the same thing and the story ends positively. What is the relationship between these two accounts? Remarkably, R. Joseph Bekhor Shor says that they are two accounts of the same story.

Prof.
Jonathan Jacobs
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The Double Quail Narratives and Bekhor Shor’s Innovative Reading

The Double Quail Narratives and Bekhor Shor’s Innovative Reading

Exodus 16 and Numbers 11 each describe God miraculously bringing quail to the hungry Israelites in the wilderness. What is the relationship between these two accounts?

Prof.
Jonathan Jacobs
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“That Is What YHWH Said,” Moses Elaborates on God’s Command About Manna

“That Is What YHWH Said,” Moses Elaborates on God’s Command About Manna

Moses gives several instructions to the Israelites concerning manna: How it should be gathered, prepared, consumed, and preserved, and what to do with it on Shabbat. The phrasing and details of these instructions are Moses’ creative elaboration of God’s original laconic command.

Dr. Rabbi
David Frankel
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Exodus: Not the Only Tradition About Israel's Past

Exodus: Not the Only Tradition About Israel's Past

The Torah implores us to remember and teach the exodus, yet surprisingly, some biblical passages seem unaware of this event and describe an alternative tradition: God found Israel in the wilderness.

Dr. Rabbi
David Frankel
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Israel's Departure from Egypt: A Liberation or an Escape?

Israel's Departure from Egypt: A Liberation or an Escape?

The oldest layer E has the Israelites pushed out by the Egyptian people under the king of Egypt’s nose during the plague of darkness and Moses splitting the sea on his own. J then revised this account to create a story of an all-powerful God smiting the firstborn sons, forcing Pharaoh to give in, and then drowning Pharaoh and his army in the sea when Pharaoh changes his mind. Finally, the Priestly redactor adds details, expands the numbers of both the Egyptians and the Israelites, and puts in his signature theological innovation: God changes Pharaoh’s mind for him and forces him to give chase.

Dr.
Tzemah Yoreh
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The Historical Exodus

The Historical Exodus

The Evidence for the Levites Leaving Egypt and the Introduction of YHWH into Israel

Prof.
Richard Elliott Friedman
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Enthroning God in the Temple with the Song of the Sea

Enthroning God in the Temple with the Song of the Sea

The Song of the Sea begins with defeat of the Egyptians and ends with YHWH’s enthronement in His temple. Comparison with the Epic of Baal and Enuma Elish clarify the genre and purpose of such hymns, and a striking parallel with Solomon’s prayer in 1 Kings 8 offers a clue to the original context of this ancient song.

Rabbi
Daniel M. Zucker
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The Israelites Are Not the Hyksos!

The Israelites Are Not the Hyksos!

The hidden polemic in the Torah’s note that “Israel did not escape by way of the Philistine coastal route”

Dr.
David Ben-Gad HaCohen
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What Really Happened at the Sea

What Really Happened at the Sea

According to the Torah: Does God split the sea? Do the Israelites cross it? What is the wind for? Where are the Egyptians when they drown?

Project TABS Editors
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Yael and the Subversion of Male Leaders in Judges

Yael and the Subversion of Male Leaders in Judges

The Canaanite general Sisera is killed by Yael in her tent but in an older version of the story, he died in battle at the hands of the Israelite general, Barak. The story was revised as part of a broader theme in Judges, to weaken the image of male military heroes through women and give the power to God.

Dr.
Jacob L. Wright
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What We Know about the Egyptian Places Mentioned in Exodus

What We Know about the Egyptian Places Mentioned in Exodus

Egyptian records and archaeological findings shed light on the toponyms (place names) that appear in the exodus account: Ramesses, Pithom, Pi-Hahiroth, Baal-Zephon, Migdol, Sukkot, and Yam Suf.

Dr.
David A. Falk
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Dating Deborah

Dating Deborah

The Song of Deborah (Judges 5) is often seen as an ancient text, perhaps one of the oldest in the Tanach, but analysis of its language and contents suggests that it is a later Deuteronomistic composition.[1]

Dr.
Serge Frolov
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The Torah's Exodus

The Torah's Exodus

Weighing the historicity of the exodus story entails more than addressing the lack of archaeological evidence.

Dr. Rabbi
Zev Farber
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Re-Encountering Miriam

Re-Encountering Miriam

The biblical portrait of Miriam can leave the feminist reader with a lingering bitterness but a literary rereading may help highlight her prophetic leadership role.

Prof.
Wendy Zierler
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Preparing for Sinai: God and Israel Test Each Other

Preparing for Sinai: God and Israel Test Each Other

The opening of the wilderness-wandering story in Exodus uses the Leitwort נ-ס-ה to underline the process of reciprocal testing between Israel and God as preparation for the Sinai event. This testing parallels that of the wilderness-wandering story in Numbers, which uses the Leitworter נ-ס-ע and נ-ש-א to underline the process of preparation Israel goes through before entering the land.

Dr.
Shani Tzoref
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Beshalach

בשלח

Exodus 13:17-17:16

וַיָּבֹאוּ בְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּתוֹךְ הַיָּם בַּיַּבָּשָׁה וְהַמַּיִם לָהֶם חֹמָה מִימִינָם וּמִשְּׂמֹאלָם׃

שמות יד:כב

and the Israelites went into the sea on dry ground, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left.

Exod 14:22

Exodus

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